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Disney’s first black princess: Breakthrough or stereotype rehash?

Princeton University’s Judith Weisenfeld doesn’t mince words:

Disney’s announcement that it planned to create a black princess drew a range of excitedly positive as well as sharply critical responses, with some reporters, bloggers, and members of the general public expressing little confidence in the racial sensitivity of the studio that gave us Song of the South (1946), or in the company that still features a ride based on the film at its theme parks. Other controversies during the new film’s production included negative audience response to the princess’ original name (Maddie) and work as a chambermaid, both of which were interpreted as signifiers of slavery. The racial indeterminacy of the love interest, Prince Naveen (Bruno Campos) of the fictional country Maldonia, has also generated strong response, with some wondering why a black man – even an animated one – was not fit to be a prince.

Our view? Not as racist as Song of the South. But if you’re looking for clean Disney hands, we didn’t find them.

Please read the rest of Weisenfeld’s review of the animated feature, to premier November 26 in New York and Los Angeles.

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November 8, 2009 - Posted by | Movies, Uncategorized | , ,

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